Most of them are not mods, per se, but third party utilities that plug in to the sim via Sim Connect (another utility). Some of them do have mods for in-game panels and such though. There is no economy in the base game.
Some of the economy add-ons are focused on progressing from plane to bigger plane, as you suggest, some are more about simulating an airline pilot career, and some are just mission generators.
Start here for FSEconomy. It’s not super exciting, and the interface is just functional, but adding progression to the sim works for a lot of people. For me it’s kinda what a lot of people get out of ETS/ATS, just a chill time making deliveries and upgrading my plane/airline.
The other big alternative is Neofly, which Ginger_Yellow can probably fill you in on if you’re interested. I think that one is probably more dynamic and has greater visual appeal.
There are a couple of others too, I think, but I can’t remember them now.
FSEconomy as mentioned is mainly a mission generator in function. There’s a persistent world with aircraft both player and “bank” owned and airports that generate missions. You can rent, and later when you have the cash, buy aircraft to fly missions to make cash. Missions are just taking people and/or cargo from a to b. An air taxi service basically. You yourself as a pilot are not in a persistent location so you can rent an aircraft anywhere. I’ve been flying live weather sunsets in a Grand Caravan in the Caribbean, then later in the XCub I bought in the Idaho hills, and after that either sunset around Victoria BC or a night flight in Iceland’s pre-midnight sun glowing twilight.
It’s all web based with a very programmer designed UI that takes a bit of getting used to.
There’s also NeoFly which I have downloaded but haven’t tried yet. That offers a persistent career mode where you begin with a starter plane and earn money to buy better ones. It also offers more involved missions like you need to stay below 1000’ AGL or land softly (<200 fpm). There’s a free version and a newer early access version that you need to donate to get access to. I threw them $5 and plan to try it out this weekend.
Yes, planes stay where you left them. Their position is persistent.
Though can can put in a job for another pilot to ferry them somewhere. And once you own a plane you can choose to rent it out, and can set a home base for it and a “bonus” amount that costs people to move it further away from the base or pays them to move it closer. So you can provide financial incentive for renters to bring the plane back.
Straight OBS is fine. There is another level which is fun, and I think you could use.
At the end of this is a video I recently did that is cinematic in nature: All the cockpit shots are straight OBS as I am flying. I also run a program called Sky Dolly in the background. This program captures all information about the flight in progress to a CSV file. I can then reload the flight, change my camera angles, and record the footage. Jeff Favignano uses to splice into his videos.
You can capture B-roll style footage which is how Jeff uses it.
Oh, perfect! That sounds handy. I was just watching one of his flight videos and he had some neat external views after the cockpit view landing. That must be how he did it. I’ll definitely check this out, thanks. :)
I really hate the in game ATC. It is constantly trying to kill me. Having me take off with a significant tailwind rather than into the wind. Telling me to land at a runway where there’s a massive crosswind when there’s another runway that’s into the wind. It’s getting kind of annoying.
It is the one I use for every plane. I have the TCa Airbus throttle with addons I love.
Edit. For general ga flying the throttle in it is fine. It was with the airliners I needed a better throttle. The Airbus has specific positions you need to put the throttle in and it was hard on that Extreme.